top of page

Mary O'Neil Mundinger


Janice Brewington Photo_edited.jpg

Mary O'Neil Mundinger has made an enduring impact on nursing education, research, and practice throughout her storied career. Dr. Mundinger is the Edward M. Kennedy Professor of Health Policy and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University School of Nursing. During her twenty-five years of service as Dean, Dr. Mundinger revitalized Columbia University School of Nursing and launched its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in 2004, the nation’s first clinical nursing doctorate to be established, a new terminal degree for nurse practitioners. She established the Council for the Advancement of Comprehensive Care, a group consisting of deans, health policy experts, and leaders, that formulated standards and advocated nationally for the new doctoral degree. Today, there are over four hundred DNP programs offered by U.S. nursing schools. She also started the school’s first externally funded research program, which during her tenure grew in size and scope until the school had the nation’s highest NIH funding per capita. She also served as a Vice President at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Mundinger has shown relentless commitment to elevating the nursing profession’s status. Her seminal publications include; Home Care Controversy: Too Little, Too Late, Too Costly and Autonomy in Nursing. She published the first randomized trial comparing nurse practitioner and physician practices in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This pioneering publication demonstrated the health outcomes of patients receiving care from nurse practitioners were equivalent to those being treated by physicians, which paved the way for policy change. Building off this work, Dr. Mundinger founded the Columbia Advanced Practice Nurse Associates, the first nursing school faculty practice where nurse practitioners held commercial managed care contracts and are compensated at the same rate as primary care physicians. Since early on in her career, Dr. Mundinger recognized the critical link between nurses’ expanded practice authority and the opportunity to provide more equitable care to all.

Dr. Mundinger is a noted health policy expert, primarily known for her work on workforce issues and primary care. She served as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in the office of Senator Edward Kennedy where she honed her policy interest during her work with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Dr. Mundinger has amplified the voice of nursing through her service on numerous Boards of Directors for large healthcare companies such as UnitedHealth Group and Welch Allyn, and through various federal advisory appointments, including the White House National Steering Committee on Health and Special Medical Advisory Group to the Department of Veterans Affairs. She also served as a Women’s Health Correspondent on Fox 5’s Good Day New York television program.

Dr. Mundinger was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 1983. She holds a BSN from the University of Michigan, a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University School of Public Health, a Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary) from Hamilton College, and a Doctor of Science (Honorary) from William Paterson University. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, and the New York Academy of Medicine.

bottom of page